1. Arrive early, leave last, charge more money?
Arrive early at the studio, so you can greet the students as they're signing–in to class. The first–timers will need your support and you'll need to ask about any injuries/limitations they might have, so that you can help them later with the posture modifications. Regulars will be glad to chit–chat with you, after all you're on the way to be their favorite teacher. Make friends with the advanced students, they will support you in your teaching with the strong energy of the "first row". Don't spend too much time chatting with one person, though, be available for everyone.
Be available after the class. You need to be there to answer questions, and offer encouragement. Spend a moment with the first-timers and assist them in choosing the right routine and membership.
Be fresh. Maintain a regular yoga practice. Eat smart and get enough rest, especially if you're teaching a full schedule. Remember that teaching more than 10 classes a week and/or teaching doubles will work against you. Tired teachers don't practice. Teachers who don't practice cannot "walk the talk". Teach less, practice more, be fresh. Read below. Your classes will be fuller, and you can charge more money for your work.
2. Know yourself, and, only then, be yourself!
Bring out your authentic self. Be yourself. Let it flow. Be relaxed and alert at the same time. Not thinking too much, but not dreaming, either. In the moment... Quick thinking... Keen eye for observation... Is it too hot? Is there enough air? Be able to adjust the environment of the room without interrupting the flow of your teaching. Focus on your students. The class is not about you. At the same time, express yourself freely. If you're a funny person—be funny! If you're very serious—that could be funny, too. Find your own unique way to be interesting.
If your students are not listening to you, you might seem boring and you've lost their attention. If your students are falling asleep, it is time for you to wake up!
Bring out the real you, who is naturally lively, empathic, inspiring, and connected. This is your own, personal moksha.
3. Communicate and Articulate
a./ Voice and words
Get out of the "monologue dialogue" and be interesting. (I wrote a book
on how to do that.) Speak loud, and speak slowly when needed. Articulate better. Breathe more often. Take a sip of water frequently (the water should not be cold, not to shorten the voice strings.)
Include moments of silence
. B.K.S Iyengar said that people start listening when you stop talking.
Change the tone of voice often, break any monotone patterns. Be "conversational
". If there's something the students don't understand, it is probably your fault. Always be ready and able to change the approach to explain the material better. Always be willing to make mistakes and immediately learn from them. Always be willing to continue to learn to teach better.
Don't be shy to smile often. Demonstrate sometimes, what you want the students to do. Stay close, be personal, friendly, and spread happiness. Every person in the room is your best friend. Move slowly, never rushed, walk/stand straight, and avoid folding your arms or placing hands on hips. Be very confident and assert yourself. Do not be cocky (well, maybe just a little), nor aggressive, nor dominating.
If you're standing, stand straight. Sitting down? Sit upright. Be careful and respectful when walking around if the students are lying down.
4. Connect and Empathise
Learn the names of your students and use their names. Over the course of the class, visit every part of the room, including the students in the corners/at the back wall. Even in a very large class, you'd like to find a way to personally acknowledge each student with eye-contact and/or other way of showing them you know they're there. If you don't get the chance to "visit" every student during the class, you can catch up with them right after. Break the Teacher/Student formal pattern. Allow the students to have their own experience.5. Facilitate the Experience
Get good at teaching multi-level classes. Be sweet with beginners, they need your support. The intermediate students—guide them more firmly and be direct, they need corrections. Be friendly and humorous with the advanced, inspire them by having a top-notch personal practice yourself.
Watch the heat/humidity/air flow. If the class is too hot, and the humidity rises, and there's no air flow, you enter a danger zone for heat stroke and exhaustion. Also, when the heat and humidity are out of control, strong practice becomes almost impossible and everyone enters "survival mode" (that's no good.) Also, remember that hot rooms more than half-full will have a CO2 problem (lack oxygen) and you need to be able to bring some fresh air in for easier breathing.
Teaching a yoga class is not about teaching yoga. It is about creating a possibility for the participants to experience something special. By selfless when focusing on the students, in the present moment, the teacher is allowing enough space for them to experience the power, magic, and benefits of yoga at their own pace, and according to their own need.
Most of the students do not come to class for yoga. They are looking for help, they want to improve their health, self-esteem, take a break from stress; perhaps they're looking for a way out of an emotional or spiritual crisis. A good yoga teacher is blessed with an opportunity to get paid for helping people. Facilitate the experience of well-being and inspiration your students need. Create and spread warm-heartedness. Make everyone happy… Yes, you can!